HISTORY OF GLENDOWER COURT
Glendower Court is a premier neighborhood platted in 1925 for 141 lots. The neighborhood is nestled in the western afternoon shadow of River Oaks and Avalon subdivisions. Visiting the neighborhood you will note that it is geographically ideal and within walking distance to:
- local bus service;
- public and private schools;
- upscale grocers; and
- fine restaurants.
The area is bounded by Avalon Place on the north, Westheimer Road on the south, Kingston Drive on the east and Westgate Drive on the west.
Today, the subdivision has been substantially redeveloped and restored. Several residences have been featured in architectural or landscape articles. Starting in the ’80s the neighborhood has a history of active resident involvement. More recently, in 2001 the strong Glendower Court Property Owners’ Association (GCPOA) replaced all streetlights with ones historically compatible with the adjacent neighborhood. Because of aesthetic and environmental concerns, 2004 brought revisions in the by-laws and deed restrictions. These new restrictions mandate that only a single family structure may be built on any future available lot, except if it is to replace a home that was previously on a smaller lot. Furthermore, new properties are subject to an architectural review process. Property appreciation has been very strong. In 2015, the median price per square foot was over $300. More updated information many be obtained from http:www.har.com/pricetrends/river-oaks-area-realestate/949.
Houston Sam, “The House is in His Head”, Houston Life Style, March 1996, p 33-37;
RO The Magazine of River Oaks, April 1995, “A Taste of Tuscany,”p 14-17.
Madeline McDermott Hamm, “Getting Down to Details”, The Houston Chronicle, Section 6, page 1, 27 February 1986.
Huber Kathy, “Garden Design: Small Courtyard visually extends the area”, The Houston Chronicle Magazine; 19 February 1995, 10-11.
A previous historian of Glendower Court provided important facts. The development was begun in the 1920s by Samuel Fain Carter (1857-1928). He was a noted lumberman (Emporia Lumber Company) and banker (Lumberman’s National Bank, which later became the Second National Bank of Houston). Glendower Court was one of the first subdivisions west of downtown and was serviced by a streetcar line down Fairview to Shepherd Dr. Additionally, initial landscape consultation within the subdivision was provided by John Watson and Donald Ross. They were renowned landscape artists who also planned River Oaks Country Club golf course. As the depression came, the area did witness foreclosures and decay. Indeed, by the ’40s the original deed restrictions had lapsed.
The ’80s were a time of solidification of the Glendower Court Property Owners Association and an architectural awakening.
- Because of neglect, neighbors contacted CLEAN HOUSTON, INC. to “Adopt a Truck.” On October 1, 1983 a one-day campaign resulted in the esplanade and streets being cleared of debris. This stimulated further action and a call for a property owners association. On November 9th the residents held an official meeting at St. Anne’s Catholic Church in the O’Rourke Hall-Upper Room. The original board members included Ginny Elverson Welch (President), Sue Rowan Pittman (Vice President), Barry Reese (Secretary), Bob Reed (Treasurer) and Larry Vaselka (Parliamentarian). On January 11, 1984 the by-laws and organizational incorporation were approved.
- At least two historically significant homes were built in the 1980s. Both homes are considered important in the transformation of the neighborhood. Noted in several of the reviews was the close proximity of Glendower Court to downtown, schools and the medical center.
|Frank Welsh and Associates||2225 Devonshire Lane||1982|
|Kenneth Bentsen and Associates||2224 Salisbury Lane||1988|
- Developer challenges galvanized the area. Not uncommon in Texas history are infamous tycoons. Houston and Galveston had been earmarked by a quick rising real estate czar, J. R. McConnell, in the early 1980s. He appeared to succeed where other developers struggled. However, his empire crumbled in the mid 80s due to complex financial arrangements.During this time, he touched several properties in Glendower Court. The strife was minor compared to the investors, lenders and title companies affected by his complex deals. With time (associated with normal neighborhood anxiety), the properties he had purchased (and some developed) were eventually foreclosed on, given clean titles and sold. Although indicted on historical bank fraud charges, he was found electrocuted in his cell approximately one month prior to trial.
- On a very positive note, McConnell’s dealings placed him in contact with Michael Graves, an internationally renowned, successful and sought after architect. His list of achievements are significant e.g., The Federal Reserve Bank (Houston). In a newspaper interview at an earlier time, he spoke of East Galveston’s development and on a smaller scale, River Oaks Townhome District. (The latter refers to Glendower Court.)
By the late 1980s, Pat Rosen, a Houston real estate columnist noted that Fred Baca of Baca Landata remarked that in 1988 and 1989 a total of 48 sales occurred in what was an area of 174 homes.
Time delays in Houston are not uncommon. In 1984, a vigorous undertaking occurred when 75% of the residents’ petitioned the city for new streets, gutters and sewers with partial cost born by them. Unfortunately, the project was not begun until 1991 under Mayor Kathy Whitmire. Residents living in the neighborhood recall the marked sacrifice the construction posed. The entire infrastructure-storm sewers, water lines, roads, and gutters were replaced. Unfortunately, some trees were lost in this process. Significant improvement in the Fairview esplanade occurred following the completion of the streets. Today it is irrigated and professionally maintained. For many homes it serves as a beautiful front yard.
Because the original deed restrictions had expired in 1947, GCPOA completed, updated and revised the deed restrictions in 1992. By the late 1990s membership to the Upper Kirby constable (Pct 1) was offered as a security service. The Constables still patrol Glendower Court and a portion of the annual dues pays for this service.
(Sources: The Houston Post, “Design Today Graves looks to the future” by Pamela Lewis, Section G, pages 1-2; Houston Business Journal, “Born-again Glendower” May 28, 1990; p. 8)
The 2000s brought increasing desire for attention of architectural harmony. First, the residents raised money along with the city’s share for installation of new and improved street lighting. Extension of that lighting to Avalon Place was not possible because of insurmountable infrastructure issues. In 2003-2004, increased concerns were raised about parking, drainage, neighborhood density, and other environmental damage. Therefore, in 2003, new bylaws were adopted and in 2004-2005 new deed restrictions were adopted. The mandatory changes included only single family home structures, mandatory architectural review and annual association fees.
What street name was Avalon previously?
Avalon Place was previously known as Indiana Avenue. The name was changed to ensure consistency until reaching Shepherd Drive.
Why are there more than 141 lots now?
The area experienced growth. During that time some lots were allowed to be subdivided.
Was the Women’s Institute always in the area?
The Women’s Institute was founded by in 1951 by Mr. and Mrs. Dean Richardson. Classes were held in their home at 2202 Westgate Drive. After their death, the Women’s Institute purchased the house from the estate. The relocation to 2202 Avalon Place was made in 1991 to further enhance its ability to deliver classes and lectures and provide off-street parking. The many and varied offerings of the Women’s Institute can viewed on their website.
Who developed the subdivision signs on the islands at the Westheimer entrances?
The original street signs were developed by the noted architect, Kenneth Bentsen.
The memorial plaque on the east end of the Fairview esplanade is for whom?
Janelle Nicholson, a Glendower Court resident, died in a house fire in 1994.
Does Glendower Court Property Owners Association have a logo?
Yes, the logo resembles the columns that originally flanked the entrances off Westheimer at Kingston Drive and at Westgate. The top sections of these columns are in storage.
Can I contact someone if I have questions?
Yes. Our contact information is here.